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charlesarthur : waze   6

On one of Los Angeles's steepest streets, an app-driven frenzy of spinouts, confusion and crashes • LA Times
Steve Lopez:
<p>along Baxter Street, everyone seems to have a story about the ineptitude of drivers — following directions from navigation apps — who can't seem to handle one of the steepest inclines [32%] in Los Angeles.

"The car came through our garden, went through two fences and ended up backwards hanging over our driveway," said Jason Luther, who was describing an accident that happened during the last rains.

"A lot of people can't make it up the hill," Baxter resident Robbie Adams said.

Why not? I asked.

"Because it's too steep, and they don't know how to drive up. So they stop and try to back down, and it's a mess because people are coming up behind them."

And that's in good weather. "Rain is a huge problem," Adams said. "People start skidding and spinning. We had our garden wall knocked down twice, and my wife's car got hit in our own driveway. I've seen five or six cars smash into other cars, and it's getting worse."

Adams said "we sent a letter to Waze" — a GPS navigation service — suggesting removal of Baxter as a shortcut possibility, or at least listing it as hazardous during wet weather.

"They said they couldn't do that because it involves changing the algorithm of the app in a weird way," he said.</p>


I was in Los Angeles last week. All the Uber drivers swore by Waze.
waze  losangeles 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
If you use Waze, hackers can stalk you » Fusion
Kashmir Hill:
<p>Last week, I tested the Waze vulnerability myself, to see how successfully the UC-Santa Barbara team could track me over a three-day period. I told them I’d be in Las Vegas and San Francisco, and where I was staying—the kind of information a snoopy stalker might know about someone he or she wanted to track. Then, their ghost army tried to keep tabs on where I went.

The researchers caught my movements on three occasions, including when I took a taxi to downtown Las Vegas for dinner:

<img src="http://i1.wp.com/fusion.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Screen-Shot-2016-04-19-at-3.19.20-PM.png" width="100%" />

And they caught me commuting to work on the bus in San Francisco. (Though they lost me when I went underground to take the subway.)

<img src="http://i1.wp.com/fusion.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Screen-Shot-2016-04-19-at-3.19.40-PM.png" width="100%" />

The security researchers were only able to track me while I was in a vehicle with Waze running in the foreground of my smartphone. Previously, they could track someone even if Waze was just running in the background of the phone. Waze, an Israeli start-up, was purchased by Google in 2013 for $1.1 billion. Zhao informed the security team at Google about the problem and made a version of the paper about their findings public last year. An update to the app in January of this year prevents it from broadcasting your location when the app is running in the background, an update that Waze described as an energy-saving feature. (So update your Waze app if you haven’t done so recently!)</p>


The only way not to be trackable is to choose to be "invisible". Or not to use Waze, of course. Once more, it's a theoretical risk - you'd need clever, determined hackers to use it against you - but it also shows how much data these apps leak intentionally.
google  waze  tracking  gps  location 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
Judge, siding with Google, refuses to shut down Waze in wake of alleged theft » Ars Technica
Cyrus Farivar:
<p>Google, the owner of the traffic app Waze, has managed to beat back a copyright lawsuit filed by lesser-known rival PhantomAlert.

Back in September 2015 <a href="http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/09/traffic-app-phantomalert-claims-waze-stole-its-database-files-lawsuit/">PhantomAlert sued Google</a> over allegations of copyright infringement. Google purchased Waze in June 2013 for over $1bn. PhantomAlert alleged that, after a failed data-sharing deal between itself and Waze collapsed in 2010, Waze apparently stole PhantomAlert’s "points of interest" database.

In a judicial order filed earlier this month, the San Francisco-based federal judge found that PhantomAlert could not allege a copyright claim on simple facts of where different places actually are.</p>


As Michael Love <a href="https://twitter.com/elkmovie/status/679334545527865346">observed</a> on Twitter, doesn't this mean that Apple (or whoever) could simply steal Google's, or Waze's, POI database? The judge also dealt with the question of whether organising those facts meant they attracted copyright: he decided PhantomAlert hadn't done enough to merit that.

PhantomAlert can file an amended complaint within two weeks, and says it will.
google  waze  poi  database  copyright 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Why Waze is so incredibly popular in Costa Rica » The Washington Post
Matt McFarland:
“It’s a nightmare.”

That’s how Eduardo Carvajal describes the Costa Rican way to give an address.

“If I want to give the address of my office I say ‘Okay, go to the ice cream cone shop in Curridabat then drive 100 meters south and 50 meters east,” Carvajal said.

He’s part of the team of volunteers who mapped Costa Rica in Waze, a crowdsourced traffic and navigation app. Carvajal, whose day job is running a software company, has made hundreds of thousands of edits to Waze’s map of Costa Rica.

Fellow volunteer Felipe Hidalgo spent 50 hours a week for almost two years helping to map the country. Hidalgo has made 378,000 edits to maps in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Cameroon, St. Helena Island, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. He described the work as addicting. Since the mapping of Costa Rica was completed, he scaled back to 10-15 hours a week.


Pity that it wasn't OpenStreetMap; then everyone could have benefited, including Waze. But as the article shows, Waze "addresses" have become part of the culture there - so much so that the government partnered with it on road closures.
waze  maps  costarica 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
Waze and the politics of public spaces » NYMag
Benjamin Wallace-Wells:
To let Waze pick your route is to feel a kind of surrender. The presence of all those other users in the system (50 million worldwide, dutifully flagging accidents and vehicles stopped on the side of the road and police cars up ahead) means that you never know whether you are being directed by the machine algorithm or the human ghost within it. You could imagine that my Dobbs Ferry detour was a kind of hiccup in the Waze mapping algorithm, or the consequence of someone driving up the Saw Mill ahead of me and mistakenly flagging an accident when they were trying to text. Or, if you are open to more devious possibilities, you might imagine an unscrupulous coffee-shop owner in downtown Dobbs Ferry continuously reporting phantom accidents on the Saw Mill, hoping to divert customers off the road and past his counter…

…The promise of Waze is that it occupies public spaces while subverting the public's control of that space — the cops, whose speed traps are flagged by passing Wazers, and the arterial systems by which we funnel traffic away from residential neighborhoods. I think this explains that strange little feeling you get, both a bit anxious and a bit excited, when Waze starts sending your car on some manic sprint away from traffic


An odd feeling, and that's just from traffic routing. Wait until it's deciding what you do with your day all the time.
waze  traffic  ai 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
People finding their 'waze' to once-hidden streets >> Associated Press
Great piece on a smartphone tragedy of the commons, by John Rogers:
Killeen said her four-mile commute to UCLA, where she teaches a public relations class, can take two hours during rush hour. "The streets on the west side are no longer a secret for locals, and people are angry," she said.

That's because the app can't be outsmarted, Waze spokeswoman Julie Mossler said.

"With millions of users in LA, fake, coordinated traffic reports can't come to fruition because they'll be negated by the next 10 people that drive down the street passively using Waze," she said.

Besides, Mossler added, "people are inherently good," meaning most wouldn't really screw with the app, no matter what they might say.

Indeed, of all the angry people interviewed for this story, none would admit doing so, although most said they heard someone else had.


One does have to wonder a little why Killeen doesn't walk, cycle or get a motorbike for that four-mile commute.
waze  traffic 
december 2014 by charlesarthur

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